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Kim's Column

Best smart watch, 5G fears, data breach action plans, and more: Tech Q&A

Each week, I receive tons of questions from my listeners about tech concerns, new products, and all things digital.

Sometimes, choosing the most interesting questions to highlight is the best part of my job.

This week, I received questions about 5G fears, data breaches, Facebook alternatives, and more.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask me?

Tap or click here to email me directly.

5G health concerns

Q: I hear that 5G causes brain cancer. Is this true? My doctor told me that it could.

A: I’m not sure what your doctor is reading, but from what I have seen, 5G does not appear to cause cancer. The FCC doesn’t seem to be concerned about its impact on the brain, and no one expects tumors to result from using 5G.

This should be good news, considering the inevitable transition to 5G networks; within a few years, we’ll be upgrading our phones and other devices to receive a decent signal. At the same time, there are phone-related health concerns you should be aware of, which may take you by surprise. Tap or click here to see the full FCC report on 5G.

List of data breaches

Q: I am losing track of all the data breaches. Is there one list that I can see them? I want to make sure my personal data wasn’t part of any breach.

A: A major breach doesn’t grab headlines as it used to, which is bad news for regular consumers who want to respond as quickly as possible. For example, Toyota owners may not have any idea that 3.1 million accounts were accessed, and that the company has no idea what sales data was stolen. In other words, if you’ve owned a Toyota in recent years, it’s possible that a lot of your driving and financial records are being sold on the Dark Web as we speak.

Big companies like Facebook and Capital One should be able to avoid hackers but haven’t. Even FEMA, a government agency, has become a victim. Each case requires a different kind of damage control. Tap or click here for a list of this year’s security breaches.

Facebook alternative

Q: I would like to find a safer Facebook type of site. Do any social networks exist that do not have any advertising and tracking?

A: Facebook has been the reigning champion of social media sites since its inception, but that says more about the weaknesses of social media than the virtues of Facebook. With unpredictable mires like SnapChat and 4chan, Facebook has managed to look comparatively legitimate. But with all the data breaches and shifty behavior in recent years, there’s never been a better time to find an alternative, especially with the election approaching and all the stress that will cause.

If you’re interested in gadgets, I have to recommend my very own social media site, which has just been launched: Komando Community is a safe and positive place to chat with like-minded people about consumer tech. We’re having a blast, and I think you will, too. Tap or click here to join the Komando Community.

Expand Netflix

Q: I can’t seem to find anything to watch on Netflix. Am I doing something wrong? Are there settings I can change, so I see things that interest me?

A: The streaming phenomenon that Netflix helped create is now crowded with copycats, including the soon-to-be-rival Disney Plus. Netflix is struggling to stay competitive, despite a host of original series and multiple Academy Awards for its theatrical films. Part of the problem: subscribers can’t always find the content they’re interested in.

I wouldn’t suggest you give up on Netflix just yet; if you’re familiar with the service and are already enrolled, there are a few simple hacks that will help you greatly enhance your experience and discover series and films you never knew existed. Tap or click here for four secret Netflix hacks that will help you find stuff worth watching.

Smart watch selection

Q: What’s the best smart watch? Everyone raves about the Apple Watch. What about Samsung, Fitbit, and Garmin’s watch?

A: One of the most exciting smart watch developments in the past couple of years is the Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch. It looks beautiful, it’s water-resistant, you can charge it without a cord, and you can speak directly into the watch face, like in the Dick Tracy comics. Pretty nifty, eh? The drawback is that it’s not yet available (probably September), and it’s far pricier than its competitors.

The bottom line: each watch has different benefits and drawbacks, and each surviving company has earned its place in the market, often for distinct reasons. You should probably see my lineup of different watches, but make sure to read down to the bottom, because the Ticwatch Pro is a nifty dark horse. Tap or click here to compare smartwatches.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or, tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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